Tuesday, January 13, 2009
*Warning: A long, sappy post is ahead. Proceed with caution.* Two years ago today, I spent a Saturday morning studying at the library, having no idea that my life was about to change so much for the better. I was in the military at the time, and I had just started a Master’s degree program. I studied for a couple hours in the library, but then grew restless and decided to leave. As I was getting ready to leave the parking lot, I got a call from my boyfriend, who wanted to meet up for lunch. We agreed to meet at my place. Once we got there, I first offered him a glass of water. He said that he wanted to get his water bottle from his car. “Why?” I asked. “I have plenty of glasses and bottles here.” “I’d just prefer to have my water bottle,” he explained. I thought it was odd, but I just shrugged my shoulders, and I started making the sandwiches. A few minutes passed, and I realized that it was taking him way too long to get a water bottle from his car. Just then I noticed an envelope sitting on my futon in the living room. I ran over to it, and opened it up. The letter inside started by saying that it was my lucky day and that I had my own personal scavenger hunt! The letter included a few rules: 1) to eat something first (he obviously knew me well, since food is a top priority for me), 2) to drop all of my current plans for the day because I would be occupied for the next 2 hours, 3) to look for a heart-shaped box at each location, which would have a clue to the next place, 4) to call the “customer service” hotline (his cell phone number), only as a last resort, and 5) to document each location by taking a picture. Clue #1 described the place where I first met a “skinny pilot” who I’ve “grown especially fond of.” It instructed me to ask the hostess for a heart-shaped box. I was so excited to embark on my scavenger hunt! I wasn’t sure if it was a proposal, but either way, it sounded so fun. I grabbed the letter, my camera, and a bag of Doritos (to satisfy rule #1, of course), and I literally ran out the door, full of excitement. As I was driving, I thought that how surreal this all was, and I wondered where this adventure would take me. I was a little nervous when I approached the hostess at the restaurant. What if she didn’t know what I was talking about? I said to her, “Hi, I was told there would be a heart-shaped box here for me?” She looked at me, and her face was serious. She said, “Just a minute.” At this point, I had no idea whether she had the box. She disappeared under the hostess desk for a minute, and then emerged holding a large, red, heart-shaped box. She handed it to me, without saying a word. I said a quick “thanks!” and ran out of the restaurant. I practically tore open the envelope, eager to see where I was going next. Clue #2 directed me to “my favorite place,” a place where we went on one of our first dates. He gave a few other details, and I knew it was the beach! I got to the beach, and I couldn’t find the box. I looked at the playground near the beach. I searched by the information center. After ten minutes, I asked a couple of workers there, and they said they hadn’t seen it. (By this time, I had almost grown comfortable asking complete strangers if they had seen a red, heart-shaped box.) Finally, in the distance, I noticed a red box, sitting on the beach. I ran toward the box. Inside was a Hawaiian lei (a remembrance of our Hawaii trip) and Clue #3, which described the restaurant where we had our first date. When I arrived at the restaurant, I approached the hostess station, where a group of waitresses (all young girls) were gathered. They were all looking at me and grinning, and they handed me the box. I read the note when I got back to my car. Clue #4 directed me to a park that overlooks a river, where we ate breakfast one morning. I looked for his car, but I didn’t see it. I wasn’t sure how he was putting the heart-shaped boxes at each place, but I was pretty impressed. Clue #5, the final clue, was to the place where we visited every Sunday morning. I immediately drove to our church. I couldn't wait to finally see him and thank him for such a fun afternoon. (I tried to take a shortcut, but it ended up taking much longer than it would have normally.) I walked inside the church, and I saw him sitting at a bench inside, smiling. He motioned for me to come over. We sat next to each other, and he gave me the final heart-shaped box, which had a letter. The letter explained that picked the church as the final place because our faith was an important part of our relationship, and he wanted it to always be part of our life. It also said how much he loved me. I finished reading the note, and we looked at each other, smiling. I suddenly felt a little shy. He said something (I’m sad that I can’t remember exactly what), and then he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. He opened a ring box, showing me a beautiful ring. Even though I had figured that this scavenger hunt was going to end with a proposal, I was still so overwhelmed in that moment. I hugged him, with tears streaming down my face, and said yes. Just then I noticed a few flashes of light. I looked over and saw our good friend that introduced us! He had asked her to take pictures of the moment. The pictures came out a little blurry, but it’s priceless to have that moment captured. I loved everything about the proposal scavenger hunt. I loved that it brought me to all the places that were special to us. It was like a literal drive down memory lane. And I thought it was neat that other people were involved, like the waitresses, who no doubt told their friends about how they got to be part of a proposal. Later, he told me a few other details that I didn’t realize at the time, which made the proposal even more special: 1) He wanted to come up with a creative proposal, and it took him months to think of the scavenger hunt idea. 2) He actually planned to have a librarian give me the first letter when I was in the library. But, I left the library too soon, and that’s why he asked me to meet up for lunch. 3) I also didn’t realize that he was in the same library parking lot (hidden from view!) when he called. 4) He borrowed his friend’s car, so he could make it to the places without me recognizing him. Ironically, we noticed later that the car was in the background of one of the pictures that I took! 5) He had our friend (the one that took pictures) deliver a couple of the boxes. She ended up seeing me run into the restaurants, which probably made her laugh to herself. 6) A little boy actually saw the heart-shaped box on the beach before I did, and he ran off with it! Husband sprinted after him, eventually getting it back and putting it back on the beach. Husband hid after that, and he got to see me open the heart-shaped box. 6) The church was initially locked when he got there, and he almost panicked. Thankfully, someone happened to drop by and opened the doors a few minutes before I arrived. 7) The heart-shaped boxes were originally plain, brown cardboard, and he spent many hours trying to wrap them in red paper. 8) He told me to take a picture of each place only because he wanted to make sure that I brought my camera for post-proposal pictures. But, I’m glad he told me to document each place because it makes for a fun memory now. I’m so thankful to Husband for making our proposal so fun and memorable. And I’m even more thankful to him for such a wonderful life together! Happy proposal day, Husband!